Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Now, Later, Before

I did a back of the envelope calculation today (back of the seminar handout to be exact) and found that by making strong, but realistic budget cuts we have 6 months before we reach a paying our mortgage-level financial crisis. The kids will move to part-time daycare on October 1 (already got approval from the director), JP will defer his MBA loans, and we will cut our discretionary spending by 50% (hard, but doable- down to only food, gas, and limited access to Target). There's room for deeper cuts if needed, including doing something with my loans, our cars, and eliminating daycare altogether, but we can hold off on any of that until at least January, I think. I cannot tell you how good that made me feel. Something out of plan will pop up, it always does- another tree will fall down, a car will stop working- but hopefully 6 months is a big overestimation of how long we need to stretch the severance anyway. It's all about contingencies. Until this contingency proves to be untenable, I'm taking comfort from it and am going to try very hard to stop staring into space. Which is good, because JP already got 3 rejection emails and I need to be the rock for the next few days. Last night was a low point, today I seem fully capable of hugging him and saying convincingly "I'm so sorry, but it's going to be okay." It's a big improvement from knowing he's hurting and wanting to run and hide under the covers by myself. It's a process, quite likely a circular one.

But as long as I'm in a forward portion of the circle, let's go back to happier times- the first day of school!


Why look at the camera when you can gaze adoringly at your big brother?


Landon got a special Sunday night fro yo treat for being so good while I was out of town and for helping his daddy do 6 hours of yard work on Saturday without complaint (seriously, he swept and picked up leaves and hauled wood until he was about to fall over). Claire did not get any because of a screaming incident during dinner, but she's smiling here because she thinks she can convince her brother to give her some.


Earlier in the day, Landon had his first soccer game! He is far more interested in the ball this time around, but still not so interest in scoring goals. JP remains baffled, but supportive.


Also on Saturday, Claire had her first dance class(and through all of these firsts my mind was reeling and desperately needing access to blogger). She was skeptical.


She refused her pink ballet dress, hair bows, tights, and ballet shoes. She deigned to wear a skirt- albeit a black and white striped one- and insisted on her beloved stained "bubblebee" shirt and hot pink cowboy boots. I was not allowed to leave the room like all the other moms and she was most insistent that she sit IN YOUR YAP MAMA.


She ventured to stand a few times, only to bolt back to my lap if I dared to move. Sitting cross-legged on a wood floor in skinny jeans and riding boots, feeling like some sort of ancient giant compared to the 10 toddlers and 4 high school age ballerinas, was not how I expected to spend that 45 minutes. I think she would have done much better had JP taken her and/or had I not spent the previous three days in NYC.


In the end, we decided to pull her out and wait until the Spring. She did seem to enjoy it (from a distance), and I'm certain that by class 2 or 3 she would have been running to join in, but I just couldn't bear the thought of an additional expense right in that moment and her hesitancy gave me the excuse to pull the chord. I'm just proud I managed to tell the office manager of my decision without bursting in to tears and launching into a monologue of the blog post that was about to pour forth from my fingers 45 minutes later. Small dignities.

For Claire's part, she jabbered the whole way home about how she "went dancin!" She did not, but hopefully in Spring she will. Or she won't and she can try something else. Who knows what we'll all be doing 6 months from now- and while I make no guarantees regarding my feelings 10 minutes from now when I go to bed and stare at the ceiling, but for this very moment, I'm mostly at peace with the uncertainty of it.


  1. Hang in there, Lady. You and your family will get through this. You seem to have such strong bonds with each other and genuine love and all the happy goodness that goes with gettin' through the tough times. Agree with prior commenter-- this was a huge curveball. But you and your hubby seem like you are smart people and you'll weather the storm. And those two munchkins sure are motivation.

  2. Since you're telling JP - let me be one of many to tell you - Lag Liv, I'm so sorry, but it's going to be okay.

    and omg is Landon 5 or 15? he looks SO DANG OLD in all these recent pics!

  3. Landon looks so amazingly mature! When did that happen?

    I hope you find all the strength you need to carry your family through this tough time!

  4. Glad to hear running the numbers gave you some comfort. If you aren't already, don't forget to factor in unemployment benefits. JP should definitely be eligible and would likely get the max benefit. It's not a lot of money but it'll help pay the mortgage. I'm confident you'll find a way to make this work until JP finds a new position, even if it means doing some tutoring or teaching some swim lessons in the meantime.

  5. I am not sure what your husband does for his work, but my old company, TD Ameritrade, has an office in Ft Worth. I left there on very good terms. Best of luck with the search, something WILL work out.

  6. Phew, six months is a long time! Glad you were able to work something out with daycare and JP's loans. Claire is her own girl, I love it! Maybe she's a swimmer?

  7. I also strongly support getting unemployment benefits. JP should look into that as soon as his work with his company ends because it can take a little while before the payments kick in.

  8. I am glad to hear that you decided to go to part time daycare. That is such a smart I idea that I considered suggesting, but I figured that you would come to that decision. I would hold out on dropping out of daycare as long as possible because it would make job hunting next to impossible for JP. We decided not to put our son back in daycare when my husband relocated and a year later, I am still a stay at home mom, but to be fair I haven't been looking too hard and I love my current job.

  9. Ugh! I'm so sorry to hear about JP's layoff. Hang in there. Wallow when you need to and know that folks are pulling for y'all.

    This makes me want to go into problem solving mode, so I am going to offer a few suggestions. Feel free to ignore.

    Are there any resources he can pursue through alumni career services or the athletic department?

    Both the Phillips66 (marketing, refining, chemicals, natural gas processing) and the ConocoPhillips (oil and gas exploration and production) websites have really up-to-date job opening listings that are monitored for responses. There may be something specific listed that JP would be interested in. Not likely to be much in Dallas-Ft. Worth... both companies have Houston HQs with big offices in Bartlesville OK and smaller offices scattered around.
    Here are the websites:
    ConocoPhillips http://www.conocophillips.com/EN/careers/Pages/index.aspx
    Phillips66 http://www.phillips66.com/EN/careers/Pages/index.aspx

    Phillips 66 also says they have a twitter thing here @P66Careers

  10. Yes, unemployment... it's there for a reason. It sounds like you're starting to regroup. You'll be okay! It's only been a week. Of course you were reeling, but you're already starting to get back on your feet.

    Sending more hugs your way!

  11. I always enjoy your posts and am sorry to hear about the loss of your husband's job. I don't know if you're a person of faith but I do believe that even when all of life's disappointments hurl themselves at us, when comforts such as a job/financial security are taken away, that reliance on a higher power can bring comfort and peace that a paycheck cannot. I am praying for your family and even though your education, determination and talents will surely get you through, praying for peace and rest in a time of change. You have a beautiful family!

  12. Long time lurker, first time commenter. Ugh, I am so sorry to hear about your husband's job. I am the sole income earner right now and it's tough. Do you mind saying roughly what JP's field is? My company is located far from Texas but we hire a ton of remote employees. I might have some leads, but it depends on his area of specialization.

  13. LL, I am so sorry to hear of JP's job loss. I recall all too well that awful sinking feeling when you get the news. You and JP have a strong relationship and that will help you endure. It's difficult to pick up the pieces and you are already on the way. Definitely go for the unemployment benefits. It's pretty stingy in Texas but it will help. Many prayers for you and the family.

  14. You're amazing. Love how you've regrouped--and so effectively.

    Your lovely little family will be fine because you're all awesome at it, LL--even little Claire. And look at all the support and good wishes out for you! Hugs!

  15. You are being really strong. I'm glad the math can work. You might want to consider forbearing your private loans (not the Feds - I think if you work 10 years in the gov & pay the normal amount on those each month, those are forgiven).

  16. Hang in there!

    And you maybe did not factor into your plans other sources of income.

    You give us a lot by writing here over all these years, and we will still love you just as much as we do now if you put a few ads on your blog! Or add Amazon affiliate links to things (even if you only do it on older posts where you've linked products or books - e.g. RRA)

    Your reviews are always genuine, so I, for one would welcome ads with open arms if it gives you a little shoe/play money (and a smidgeon less freedom from worry).

  17. Hi LL, I was so happy to meet you in church this past Christmas Eve. I love reading your blog. I'm so sorry that you are going through such a tough time right now. We were recently transferred to Colorado. I just want you to know that your blog really helped me get our house ready to be sold, "nothing smaller than a cantalope" became my mantra! Your experience is difficult, to say the least, but your writing reaches & helps others. Thanks for that!
    Lori (friend of Patty with the perfect hair!)

  18. Sounds like you all have a really good financial plan. You are well ahead of many people in terms of your savings socked away and progress on your loans. I hear you on uncertainty being far worse than change. I, too, have a need to control. Change I can handle through research, preparation, mitigation. Uncertainty gets me completely tied up in knots. So (((HUGS))) hope there are some more certain paths laid down for you soon.